Maybe this one should have stayed unreleased.
Marble Madness II, an unreleased Atari game, has mysteriously reemerged in the form of a ROM, and no one knows who to thank…or blame.
Back in the 90s, when “retro” was current-gen, Marble Madness remained one of the more successful titles for members of the arcade scene. You simply weren’t a gamer if you didn’t know about Marble Madness.
It was insanely popular and for good reason. It was a straightforward concept, and the levels were creative in a way that offered a deep enough challenge without feeling cheated out of your change – something other arcade games didn’t care to master.
Like any successful thing, companies opt to capitalize on the people’s desire by either improving the thing or making a new thing. Midway Games decided to follow suit as any business would by creating what we now know to be Marble Madness II, a direct sequel to the arcade hit.
Atari used a few prototype setups to showcase the game to some focus groups, to which they received unpleasant responses. With their confidence about the game feigned, they scrapped the project entirely, leaving the prototypes and its data to wither away into nothing, or so we thought.
As mentioned earlier, an unnamed Marble Madness fan leaked Marble Madness II‘s ROM to the internet for all the world to experience. No one knows who this person is, why he leaked it, or what his motive was for leaking it. Many people now have a first-hand idea about why the game was never published.
According to TechSpot, Marble Madness II had lost track of what made its predecessor so successful in the first place. Jason Scott of the Internet Archive notes that Marble Madness II is the best example of when a “sequel [of a beautiful game] completely forgets why the original was great.
He further drives home the desire many people had to play this game and how he is thankful that this game was leaked. It now gives people the ability to rest the idea that this would have been a good game.
Whether or not you agree that it should have never been published, it’s a treat to know that people can finally play the game that had essentially developed into somewhat of a unicorn in the gaming preservation community.